That is what President Trump and his 100% supporters have been claiming.  It is the mother of all conspiracy theories.  As Fareed Zakaria recently put it well, this canard is akin to the “Stab in the Back” conspiracy theory launched and widely believed in Germany post WWI.  Its supporters claimed that the German Army had not lost the war.  They believed that Germany had been stabbed in the back by civilian leaders including Jews by signing an armistice to end the war that had no reason to be signed. That gained quite a bit of traction that was a major factor in fueling the rise of the Nazi Party and the demise of the Weimar Republic, a democracy.

The moral is that democracies can commit suicide.  Lincoln predicted that if the U.S. ever fell it would come by suicide not by some transatlantic giant.  Suicide was seriously tried in the Civil War.

Now, we have the President and many of his 100% supporters claiming the election was stolen.  They do not accept that the vote counts in the key states were honest in spite of the fact that in key cases GOP officials, such as Georgia’s Secretary of State, have said this was an honest, transparent election.  All major networks, including Fox News, have called the election for Biden.  Naturally, Trump has attacked Fox News.

Trump’s lawsuits have failed to provide convincing evidence of fraud sufficient to change the results of the 4 states in question.  His big-name lawyers quit since it was embarrassing to be in court without proof.  Guiliani is inadequate to the task.  Recounts will not change the fact of a Biden victory.  Recounts at most normally change the vote one way or another by a few hundred votes.  Trump recently tweeted a false claim about 6,000 Biden votes in AZ.  He has made so many false claims that one would wonder why anyone would believe anything he has to say about the election.

Still, Trump and his personal lawyer Giuliani have been claiming that the votes were fraudulent because they were counted by software provided by a foreign firm owned allegedly by Venezuelans and Chinese.  There were human error glitches, but NOT any conspiracy to subvert an honest count.  Dominion IS a foreign firm—owned and operated in Canada with offices in the U.S.

From such small errors, a big conspiracy theory has emerged.  See:

These conspiracy theories do nothing more than attack the integrity of our democratic voting processes.  They are designed for Trump to hold onto his Presidency at any cost.  He may not concede that he lost as a result.  Then, what?  Maybe he could only say he lost but by a rigged election.  That way he could launch a movement to win it in 2024.  The states are certifying their results, but democracy depends on the losers accepting the results.  He does not and may not. His 100%ers may be a thorn in Biden’s administration along with Trump.

In addition, several states such as PA and WI also had paper ballots and all contested states involved had a paper trail suitable for audits.  For example, recounts of the paper ballots in GA and WI would have exposed any electronic fraud.  None was found.  In those WI counties that used Dominion, WI law requires that each ballot must be hand counted twice to make sure the machines are accurate.  They were accurate.

Secondarily, there were multiple metropolitan areas that did not use Dominion such as Philadelphia and Allegheny in PA not to mention Milwaukee and Dane in WI.  There were other counties that did not use Dominion.  It is very strange that the Trump campaign would demand recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties as they did not use Dominion.  The recount actually added a few votes to Biden’s total.  Not surprisingly, the Trump campaign at once issued a lawsuit to prevent certification of the vote. It has failed.

In PA, most counties used a hand marked ballot so they had a paper trail for audits.  The Secretary of State carried out a required risk limiting audit of the votes.  No frauds were found.  PA tested every entry point, all software and firmware in its voting machines.  All machines were pre-tested before the election.  All machines had voter-verifiable paper records.  All machines had multilayered security systems in place.  None were connected to or permitted to be on internet facing networks. They partnered with the DHS to conduct multiple in-depth vulnerability assessments of their machines.  All machines had locks with tamper-evident seals in place. No fraud was found.  Again, keep in mind that PA’s two major metropolitan areas did not use Dominion voting count machines.

In Michigan, they have a paper trail for all of their ballots and auditing procedures to ensure vote accuracy.  State officials invested in upgraded voting equipment and increased security measures on the Qualified Voter File—its master database of voter info.  They have had experienced hackers attempt to hack their system to expose vulnerabilities to be fixed.  All Michigan counties used hand marked paper ballots that can be checked in case of any issues.  They developed a new type of audit to enhance security, a risk-limiting audit.  Dominion was only used in two of the counties with issues in GA and MI and the issues were investigated and reported on. Human error, not Dominion, was the problem in both cases.  Not fraud.

GA also had a paper trail system in place.  Its recount required their election workers to look at each of the nearly 5 million paper ballots to determine if there was any fraud in the original machine tallied results. Contrary to another of Trump’s false claims, the human vote counters were required to check all voter signatures against the data base of registered voters signatures.  The machines all printed out paper ballots and the absentee ballots were all hand marked ballots with multiple security items imbedded in them.  The results of the recount disclosed some missing ballots; but all were accounted for in the final totals.  It is counter intuitive that the GOP required a second recount using machines. Strange choice since the GOP had been railing against Dominion voting machines.  Paper ballots are the acid test for determining if the machines had been tampered with.  A printer was used to produce a paper record of voters of voting machines.  The recounts did not change the results of a Biden win.

Finally, GA’s Sec of State held an audit whereby the Dominion machines were gone over by multiple experts to make sure there was no miscounting.  The audit turned up no evidence of any.

In GA, the Sec or State pointed out that something like 24,000 GOP voters voted in their primary but not in the general election.  He has been sure that had they voted Trump would have won, but he is also sure they believed Trump’s accusations of a rigged election so they didn’t bother to vote.  That Sec of State has, along with his wife and co-workers, faced death threats.   Where are the honorable GOP leaders to defend them?

In AZ, state law requires random samples of the ballots be taken from precincts chosen by officials of both parties and they do a hand count to find if the machine tallies add up. They did.  NV also had rigorous audits for though they used Dominion, the machines were geared to produce a paper record.  The audits showed the tallies did add up for the reported Biden win.

None of those audits found any fraud from the machines.  It is crucial if you use machines that you also have a paper trail.  All of the states in question did.  Trump’s early on accusations helped solidify the election officials determination to make sure the vote counts were accurate.  And the vote counts were accurate.  The specific charges of dead people voting have all been refuted.

Finally, and this is telling, it appears that the real threat has not been voter fraud; but Trump’s baseless accusations.  A stab in the back déjà vu?

An addendum: TX filed a lawsuit recently that lacked substance and merit.  Besides not having the standing to make this suit, the suit made a number of proven false claims that the 4 states had violated their own laws.  Trump’s legal team filed over 50 lawsuits arguing that the states in question had done that and had also allowed a great deal of fraud.  I have studied each of the lawsuits filed; and the suits were either rejected or withdrawn for lack of proof with only one exception.  That exception took place in PA; but PA election officials had set aside the ballots in question.  The number of ballots in question came nowhere near the number needed to overturn the results.  The suit attempted to claim that TX had somehow been harmed by the actions of how the 4 states in question had in effect poisoned the election results and thus those results should be rejected.  That was an egregious request.  If we buy that request then any “blue” state could have sued TX for not following its own laws.  After all, the TX governor had on his own authority issued an order to change the election laws in TX:

The Supreme Court had no choice but to reject hearing this suit.  They had already rejected a GOP effort to overturn the results of the election in PA.  The Supreme Court had to be aware of the results of the Trump legal team’s failure to prove their claims.  They also had a deadline to deal with since today is the day the Electoral College makes its decision.

The bottom line is this: Trump lost the election, fair and square.  If he persists in being a poor loser, this will be his eternal legacy.  A stab in the back déjà vu?